Summary: Gratitude – the power to appreciate and acknowledge what one has These are not gifts we have mastered… but means of grace… disciplines we develop. This is true of one final gift…GRATITUDE. – the power to appreciate and acknowledge what one has
This morning we’re going to conclude our series focused on Spiritual Insights for Insecure Times
I don’t presume that we’ve resolved all the insecurity and uncertainty that we may face ahead. Rather… it’s more a matter of looking at the challenge… and resolving within the inner qualities that we will embrace… to embrace what God offers us…
Dynamics we can discover and develop in Christ…
• Simplicity – the power to reduce the material attachments correlated with contentment
• Trust – the power to live in relationship with God as our Provider
• Generosity – the power to bless others by enjoying giving over getting
• Gratitude – the power to appreciate and acknowledge what one has
These are not gifts we have mastered… but means of grace… disciplines we develop. This is true of one final gift…GRATITUDE. – the power to appreciate and acknowledge what one has
So appropriately we come to this last quality… on this Thanksgiving weekend. So fitting… not because it makes a nice connection to a secular holiday… in truth … Thanksgiving could be said to be the most spiritual of all the holiday. It’s rooted entirely in what God had shaped in his people.
I just want to take a few minutes to remind us of this very basic role of giving thanks, before we take some time to do so ourselves and as we enter this week…
1. Gratitude Engages our Relationship with God… Connecting the Gift with the Giver
acknowledging Him as the Source of our blessing
a. Story of neighbor’s gift… during the 1st year of marriage …we found at front door. Didn’t know who it was from. We felt blessed…. but not able to connect personally and relationally to that blessing. Later discovered someone had dropped it by for someone and forgotten to tell us. We didn’t recognized the gift because we didn’t recognize owner, so much affection had come our way but the response was stopped because we didn’t recognize who the owner was.
b. I see something happen when our kids open birthday gifts… there is this little obstacle on the top of the package… between them and the paper waiting to be torn open… it’s called a card. And we often have to stop them and say… “Did you open the card?” Because the card expresses the heart of the giver behind the gift.
c. Thanksgiving is simply the joy of connecting the gift with the giver
i. Many are going to stop to express appreciation this week, but without a clear opportunity to experience the relationship
ii. As one man explained, “The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank” (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)
iii. Gratitude flows from stewardship.. because all is gift rather than a right … so even if facing less or loss… what can stop and appreciate the blessing.
iv. And so the apostle James reminds us..
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”- James 1:17
2. Gratitude Embraces Our Blessings
a. Thanksgiving focuses on what we have, fear and anxiety on what we don’t have”
b. If we look back to Adam & Eve, we see that even paradise, could be construed by the serpent’s suggestion that they weren’t ok without that one fruit.
c. Needless to say we don’t live in paradise any longer. Many of us have faced significant losses… work, relationships….
d. So the scriptures counsel us. (Phil. 4:6-8)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
e. Notice we’re encouraged to acknowledge our focus on the good
i. Having needs isn’t being ungrateful, but without giving thanks for what we have we forgo the blessings and good that we hold.
ii. God knows the work of the serpent is alive today; that messages abound that are geared to tell me what I need; while few help me to appreciate and embrace what I have.
iii. It’s the old glass half empty, glass half full principle. If we see the glass as half empty, no matter how much God provides for us, no matter how big the half full glass is, it will always be half empty.
iv. I’ve found that when I wake up and begin my days with concern, (God why this…) I live as a poor man; but when I begin with giving thanks, with counting blessings, I discover how rich a man I am.